A wheelchair is not enough reason to keep model Lisa Cox from succeeding in the fashion industry.
Lisa Cox, an Australian influencer and model is currently gearing up for is one of the biggest fashion shows in the world, New York Fashion Week. However, as it is affected by the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic, some part of the show will be held virtually this year.
Lisa is also an advocate and media professional, voicing her concerns that Australia is lagging terribly behind the rest of the world in bringing diversity into the fashion industry. In 2020, there are moves towards inclusivity and body positivity that are more noticeable than any year that has come before. yet we’re far from perfect.
“Even though we have been good at putting other sorts of diversity forward, so skin colour, size and those sorts of things, when it comes to visible disability, there’s silence – there’s nothing,” Lisa told The New Daily.
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Why do we try so hard to fit in when each of us was born to stand out! After acquiring ♿ I didn't slip back into society as seamlessly as I would have liked. . Some things left me scratching my head while others fuelled me to create change for those in similar situations. . My reasons for not fitting in had little to do with the fact that I mobilised on 4 wheels instead of 2 feet. Rather, I didn't fit because society's expectations of me lowered substantially. . Some of the best examples of such were in a professional setting. . I shared my own #beforeandafter experiences in a recent interview about #disability and #employment (link in bio). Adding some advice to #businessleaders who WANT to be more diverse and inclusive but just don't know HOW. . (Hint: There's more to it than putting a wheelchair ramp at the front door). . Amongst the subtleties, I noted a stark contrast in the way I was perceived at first glance by potential employers. . Example… Before disabilities, I'd show my resume and examples of my work in a portfolio. This frequently resulted in a job offer and professional commendations about my academic and work history. . Yet when I presented exactly the same resume and portfolio from a seated position (in my wheelchair), the result was very different. Job offers became infrequent and the comments that followed were both condescending and patronising (even though they never meant it). . “Oh good for you!” some would coo, clearly surprised that anyone with such obvious disabilities wanted to continue a career in the media/advertising industry (already notorious for stereotypes and misrepresentation other than disability). . "BE INVISIBLE," was basically what they said without actually saying it. . "PHUCK NO," is basically what I said without actually saying it. . #visibilityfordisability I'm well aware that this isn't an isolated issue for me or the disability community and I'm thrilled to collaborate with those who also know that #actionsspeaklouderthanwords (or tweets) and that representation isn't rocket science! . Have you faced discrimination around employment because of differences? Stay well and have a great day 😘xx
Disability and fashion
People with disabilities often lack representation in the workforce, and the fashion industry is no exception. Stigmas or stereotypes are commonly found but the fashion industry should celebrate having a dynamic and vibrant community of individuals.
To normalize representation of people with disability is one of Lisa’s goals. Meaningful representation is not simply featuring diverse models or a shallow campaign, it aims to create a consistently inclusive picture that is likely to reflect the same able-bodied archetype.
“Just like everybody I have multiple interests – yes, I’m in a wheelchair … but I also love fashion, going out with my husband, all the ‘normal things’ that I liked before I had a disability,” said Lisa.
Of course, one move is not going to change the world. And yet there are still huge gaps, particularly in Australian media and marketing, that continue to lock out certain people. Fashion is in another way trying to subvert stereotypes of what people with disabilities look like. Hopefully, we can see a little more difference in the future and feel more affinity towards all people.
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